Rediscovered: Even in Bismarck

Yep, no one better positioned to appreciate the COVID-19 outbreak than science fiction fans. It’s like living the la vida loca of a Zombie Apocalypse without the severe downside of rampaging zombies.

But I would have thought if anyone I know was more or less removed from the action, it would be Brian Leno up in Bismarck, North Dakota. The hinterlands. The whole state has less people than the pop of San Francisco.

Brian reports in from the front lines:

Well, Don, two confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Burleigh County,  which is where the teeming metropolis of Bismarck is located.

So I sauntered to the grocery store to stock up on supplies and while I was looking at the ground beef I felt a hand on my shoulder and I turned to find Chuck Heston standing next to me.

“Soylent Green is people,” he whispered to me.

I looked at the slip on my hamburger and, sure enough, it read “ground chuck.”

Just as I put the meat in my cart I heard someone yell that he was selling a book.

“To Serve Man!” he kept screaming and some toothless old fart yelled out “Don’t buy it! It’s a cookbook! It’s a cookbook!”

Once I got home I went for a walk and got stopped by a patrol car, whose driver looked a lot like Ray Bradbury. He asked my name and what was I doing outside when the county was on lock down.

“Just walking,” I said, “Just walking.”

“Just walking, Mr. Leno, just walking?” I nodded my head and he switched off the headlights which had been glaring into my face. He told me to get home and go into isolation.

No kidding, this junk ran through my mind today while shopping and walking. The shelves were bare, no milk, no eggs, no bread. It was like a scene from a science fiction movie or story.

Another confirmed case in Morton County, right across the river.

A voice, just before it goes dark. . . .

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